BMW will challenge Audi and Jaguar in Formula E electric racing

Andretti Formula E race car
Formula E, the race series for electric cars, will gain a new high-profile entrant in 2018.

BMW confirmed it will enter Formula E as a manufacturer for the series’ fifth season, which kicks off in 2018 and runs through mid-2019. The German automaker already has a relationship with the Andretti Autosport team, but will step up its commitment significantly. Among other things, BMW will supply its own powertrains to the team.

“This project is thoroughly driven by technology. We are using Formula E as a development laboratory, operating under unique conditions that prevail in motor racing,” said BMW board member Klaus Frohlich. “The borders between production and motor racing development are more blurred at BMW i Motorsport than in any other project.”

BMW’s announcement came shortly after Audi confirmed that it would launch its own Formula E team next season. Like BMW, Audi plans to convert an existing partnership with an independent team into a full-on factory effort. A currently has a technical partnership with the Abt Schaeffler team, and will take that team’s spot on the gird when Formula E’s fourth season kicks off in Hong Kong in December.

Formula E has attracted a lot of attention from automakers in a relatively short period of time. Jaguar, Mahindra, Renault, and Citroen’s DS sub-brand all have their own teams. So do startups Faraday Future, NextEV, and Venturi. Mercedes-Benz may enter the series as well. In addition to its partnership with Andretti Autosport, BMW currently supplies the pace car and various support vehicles for Formula E.

BMW will plunge headfirst into Formula E just as the series implements major rule changes, aimed at improving the quality of the racing. These changes include larger battery packs that can hold enough charge to last a whole race, eliminating the current mid-race car changes. All teams will continue to use the same chassis, but it will be a sleeker new design.

Alongside its Formula E entry, BMW will race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018, marking its first appearance at the legendary French competition in seven years. BMW will race in the GTE class for production-based cars, although it has not disclosed which one of its models it plans to race.

Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Movies & TV

Our first look at 'The Punisher' season 2 hints at January 2019 premiere

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero, Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.